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What Factor Sunscreen Should I Be Using?
There are many reasons people like to tan their skin. It can make them look and feel healthier, even out their natural skin tone and even make them appear slimmer. It is no wonder that people like to sunbathe once the weather gets warm, but there is a downside to getting a tan, too. The sun has been linked to cancer and other serious conditions, and the risk of burning can be high without using the correct sunscreen. However, with so many different options available, it can be hard to know which factor of sunscreen you should be using.
You should look at the SPF factor of sunscreen to decide which one to use. There are four main types of protection:
• Low protection: SPF is below 15.
• Medium protection: SPF is 15 to 29.
• High protection: SPF is 30 to 49.
• Very high protection: SPF is over 50.
By law, a sunscreen must contain a sun protection factor (SPF) label so you know how well the product protects you in the sun from UVB rays. It should also contain the label "broad spectrum", meaning that its safety has been checked in ultraviolet rays.
According to the FDA, wearing a sunscreen of SPF 15 and above can help to prevent skin cancer. If it doesn’t have an SPF of 15 or above, the product is not allowed to carry a broad-spectrum label. However, this testing only relates to sunburn and does not offer to reduce the likelihood of skin cancer or the signs of premature aging caused by the sun.
What Does SPF Measure?
SPF is a measure of the risk of sunburn to the skin and considers how long it takes UVB rays to make your skin go red in comparison to not using sunscreen at all. It should take 15 times longer with SPF 15, 30 times longer with SPF 30, and so forth. However, there are other factors that will determine how quickly your skin might burn, so just looking at SPF alone is not a definitive guide. You should not consider it safe to be in the sun for longer just because you are wearing a higher factor of sunscreen.
Other Factors That Affect Your Skin Safety
Factors that may make your skin burn even if you are wearing sunscreen include:
Weather conditions - A strong wind can lull you into a false sense of security because it makes you feel as if the weather is colder than it is. Always apply enough sunscreen and keep applying it throughout the day.
Time of Day - The sun is strongest in the middle part of the day, usually between 12 pm and 2 pm. It is more dangerous to be outside during these times on a hot day, even if you are wearing sunscreen, so try to avoid exposing yourself to too much sun between these hours if you can.
Skin Type - The paler your skin is, the more likely you are to burn in the sun. If you are very fair, you should always wear an SPF factor of 50+. However, dark-skinned people should not think that this makes them invincible; wearing an SPF 15 or above is essential for even the darkest skin if you don’t want to burn.
How lotion is applied - Lotion should be applied liberally, and you should not leave any areas of your skin unprotected. Most people only use 25% to 50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen, which can cause them to burn more easily even though they think they are safe.
How often lotion is applied - You should reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours to avoid burning. Make sure you are especially thorough with those hard-to-reach areas or places that are prone to rubbing or sweating. If you feel that your skin is becoming hot and uncomfortable, you may have missed a patch, so reapply sunscreen to these areas.
High-Risk Activities - You should be especially careful if you are partaking in high-risk activities such as swimming or other outdoor exercise that could cause you to sweat. If your sunscreen rubs off, you are not protected and could burn.
Be responsible in the sun by using a high factor sunscreen, such as this Natural Organic Summer Sunscreen, and making sure you do not burn. It is far healthier and more attractive to tan slowly than to turn bright red and burn. This helps to reduce your chances of skin cancer and other sun-related health issues, too.